Friday, September 26, 2008

Many of us have great and powerful disabilities to overcome in life, but few of us choose to focus our life purpose and occupation in that very area of disability. Watch this amazing and moving video to see what determination and perseverance can produce through the message of this dance.

Living a Lifestyle of Learning daily

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wacky Wednesday-Real Life Science

One dark and rainy day in May, my youngest son Graydon and I were at a garden center and happened to see a small food service type of container at the cash register. "Mantis pod" it read. Would that be Praying Mantis? I was intrigued. What a great real life science project. I often regretted my boys not being able to see a real praying mantis in our hot and humid home when we lived in Ontario. (They were not born yet)

Praying mantis's are the most intriguing little insects. They will actually turn their heads to look at your face. It's kinda shocking the first time you see his head follow yours as you twirl him around on your hand. ....Back to the story... of course, we bought the container and followed the instructions to keep it in the fridge until the weather got warm and then hang it on a tree. Out came our field guides and we researched all about praying mantis (Life applicable learning- the most stickable learning there is. In 2 - 6 weeks out of the pod were to emerge hundreds of baby praying mantis. We hung one on either side of the garden and watched carefully. We were warned to not miss the hatching because once the babies come out of their paper wasp like birthing pod there is not much evidence that the pod is empty and the babies will all scatter and you could miss it. Well, one we missed but the other I providentially caught just a the right time. Here is a great shot of the pod dripping with babies. They quickly jumped down and were off. Within 30 min we could hardly find one. They were so cute!

Surprisingly, Graydon found one of the long lost mantis babies now grown to over an inch in only 3 weeks later. It is surprising because they are completely camouflaged with their surroundings. They look like a small twig or other thread like natural debris. He was obviously doing very well.

Living a Lifestyle of Learning daily

A new look-What do you think?

I have been contemplating for some time getting a new look for my blog. Since I'm not very technical I would have to pay someone to do a good job but my son just came across this free background blog site and gave it a whirl on his site GL Highlights

Wow, How easy can you get? So I switched mine as well. I like it but it doesn't do a few things that I would like, like give that scroll down feeling.
(The background stays put while the words move upward)

Does this bother anyone else besides me?

Living a Lifestyle of Learning Daily

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Spiced Squash Raw Salad

Another raw food winner.This time I am posting a recipe for a salad. Many erroneously think that raw food people (officially called raw foodists) eat only salads. Nothing could be further from the truth BUT salads are part of good nutrition and this one happens to be quite economical as well. If you happen to have planted one only zucchini plant in some remote garden corner you will have enough summer veggies to enjoy this recipe simply entitled Spiced Squash, taken unaltered from the bookThe Raw 50: 10 Amazing Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Snacks, and Drinks for Your Raw Food Lifestyle

1/2 c chopped sun dried tomatos, soaked for 2 hours and drained

2 T cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.

1 T minced white onion

1 T minced fresh oregano

1 T minced fresh dill

1 t Himalayan salt

2 zucchini, sliced and 2 yellow squash, sliced.

Combine all in a mixing bowl, add salt, oil, and herbs. Toss to coat all the vegetables and marinate at least 2 hours.

The next day this salad is even better and the fresh herbs need a little time to really permeated the sauce and the skin of the zucchini.


Living a Lifestyle of Learning daily

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Selling of Indulgences revisited-carbon credits!

I'm not much of an evening news person, in fact not much of a TV person at all. I don't even listen to the radio so when great and terrifying world wide news erupts I'm usually the last to know. News of one such worldwide news was the conversation topic at our kitchen table last night when my visiting son and daughter in law told us they were offered (and turned down) "carbon credits" when they had purchased their airline tickets to Arizona.

"Carbon credits?" "What is that?" I naively inquired. My husband proceeded to fill in the gaps in my current event vacuum in that Al Gore has made millions off of his carbon credit program.....The guilt freeing program that supposedly plants trees and saves the earth with a percentage of each credit purchased each time one such selfish person indulges in using unmerited energy. Tell me, I wonder, what exactly is different from the medieval selling of indulgences by the Catholic church to relieve one of past sins and grant forgiveness based upon how much you could cover with each dollar?

We are walking down a serious road of error if we believe all the "save the earth" dogma out there today. It may sound innocent and even responsible to be environmentally minded but watch out, some devastating consequences come out of such deception. Worldviews are blatantly exposed when talk of envirnmentalism is spoken.

(They exchanged the truth for a lie and worship creation instead of the

Stephanie (my daughter in law) writes on another serious consequence of being swayed by environmental thinking, only buying carbon credits will never help overcome these painful outcomes. Check out her article here for some of the outcomes of believing the lie that we are overpopulating the earth.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Reading tire numbers could mean life or death!

Late this evening my son Jonathan (18) was out underneath all of our vehicles checking out the date of production numbers on our vehicle tires. Find out why you need to learn to read the DOT numbers after you see this short video. Those numbers could mean life or death to you or someone you love. This is worth watching.
Living a Lifestyle of Learning daily

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"You have arrived!"

I have been saving, ...and planning ...and researching for what to me is a rather large purchase. Technology does not come easy to me but I found it next to impossible to go without one of these time and almost life saving tools... a GPS.

I contemplated for many months and finally laid down the cash with anticipation, walked away with high hopes and those hopes have not let me down. I love it.

In the three weeks that we have used it on every trip it has already saved me from much stress and last minute reckless lane changes and who knows how many tickets for U turns!

We even named it. It is called Squishy after Finding Nemo fame. It goes with us everywhere and "it will be my squishy and it will be mine."

But something keeps bothering me about it. One particular phrase that it repeats at the end of each and every trip keeps echoing in my mind. It says simply," You have arrived." At first it evoked a chuckle and a grin. "Ha, I have arrived." Then a just a grin and then a little consternation. Oh to have it so simple.

As I am endeavoring to encourage many a young Mom out here to stay the course in Homeschooling with vision, home business for skills, home cooking for health, and homemaking with love, I want to make sure that we have a complete understanding.

I have NOT arrived.

I have learned much in my years at home, and through many struggles but to be perfectly honest, I still struggle at times. I have not mastered all that I preach. I think in principles but act in the flesh. Nevertheless it is in the struggle that the search for God's way begins for all of us. And I am still on the path, just a little ahead of many of you.

....Just wanted you to know that.

Have a good day.... Living a Lifestyle of Learning daily

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wacky Wednesday Baby Preacher. You gotta see this.

Even though this is hilariously funny, I feel a little sad that this is what a little baby is seeing in our cultural churches today. Is this really revival? Still you gotta laugh out loud. I just had to show you.

Living a Lifestyle of Learning daily

Monday, September 8, 2008

Chance? No.... Providence, I say

I am so blessed. For many people church is a chore or an obligation, a routine like putting in time at the laundromat. Worse, to some, church attendance is a mindless exercise not being fully aware of exactly why we do this every week or twice yearly as it is with many in the traditional Bible Belt.

To my family, church is a wonderfully delightful "family event."

Why is my church so different? Well, I will tell you a story.

Several years ago I was having serious thoughts about Sunday school and youth groups. The battle for my children's hearts seemed continual and rotated around several issues raised always by events planned by the church. I found myself arguing with youth group leaders about the types of movies that were shown, late night hours and quite a load of junk food not only available but peer group encouraged to consume. Several rock concerts (Christian rock, of course) and the accompanied "lock in" sleep overs threatened to turn me into one of those raging parents in defence of my sweet ones innocence.

The events were all "fun" activities so I guess that is why we tend to overlook them at first but it gets deeper and so does the struggle. Most of the teen rebellion, be it large or small is generally then to be expected and parents are encouraged to go with it and just get them through it.

"Raise them in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it." Why then are 75 % of our youth leaving the church...permanently? I started realizing even though I believed in home education and non age segregated social life, I was somehow thoughtlessly sending my precious little hearts off in age segregated Sunday school classrooms and groups with whomever happened to be the teacher that day. And I often did not know what they were teaching my child about God (another clue...ABOUT God)

Furthermore, the youth group that my now grown children were attending several years ago was led by leaders not much older than my own children. (fools leading fools) Somehow that seems to qualify these leaders as "they can to relate to the kids where they are."

At one point the leader decided to have a (outreach) school book burning bonfire a the end of the school year.
Did I protest?
You know me too well!

Another time one of the youth group members was tied to a street post, toilet papered and sprayed with whipped cream and left there for what was supposed to be several hours...because it was his birthday. That activity was initiated by the youth leaders. I was not very popular when I let loose on them all and untied the poor boy, who by the way was not laughing! Neither is he in the church today.

Another memory comes to mind when I stumbled upon a youth group meeting in process while attending a wedding rehersal where 10 or 15 kids were gathered around a huge water barrel. I was confused seeing one of the young boys with his head immersed up to the neck in the floating ice and water. The kids around were counting hilariously. The challenge was who could keep their head under, breath held for the longest. I still recalled the deathly grey of his face and the obvious disorientation and seeming blindness of one such boy as he came bursting out of the glacier bath. I regret standing by silently in shock. Sufficeth to say I am glad for the leaders sake that my son was not the one in the barrel at the time I stumbled upon the scene. 911 would have had two calls that night.

Fortunately, because of a move to the middle of nowhere on acreage out in the sticks of Arkansas, I had the time to actually think about what I believe and more specifically what the Bible says about youth and how they are to be raised. Many verses immediately came to memory and I found even more as I searched the Scriptures. I started afresh and simply kept my children out of age segregated groups altogether. It wasn't met with a whole lot of encouragement, and even some downright mild rebukes but I held firm, stayed strong, and gained some quiet respect. Still I was continually frustrated by the wonderfully fun type of announcements of what the next Friday night group meeting would bring all the while my boys sitting beside me in church more than slightly pulled with desire.

Then it happened. I called an old friend back in Seattle to make the announcement that we were about to move back to the west coast and she said, "Oh, that' too bad. We won't be in town the weekend you arrive. We are going to a Conference."

My ears pricked up? "Oh? What conference? "

"A Uniting Church and Home Conference."

Uniting Church...and Home... Conference? I was intrigued.

She explained only a little and I knew I had to go. "Do you mean to say that there are other people out there who believe in keeping children's hearts at home and within the family, even at church? That there are whole churches that do not divide the family in age segregated groups the minute you walk through the door? That there aren't any youth group fun filled foolishness packed activity's announced over the microphone for me to have t0 say no?


And to make this story shorter, through that wonderful conference over three years ago we found one of those rare and wonderful churches. At first, to be honest with you, it was a little different and hard to get used to. We were used to a different style of worship and quite easier messages to listen to.
Within a few short weeks though, you could not drag my boys away from the sweet fellowship of mixed ages of many wonderful home school families who believed exactly as we did. Many of them had come through the same path as we did. Furthermore, our new Pastor's wonderful expository preaching spoiled us for anything less for ever more. It is deep and accurate and he lives his faith explicitly.

I confess again, this isn't an easy church to sit in. I have had quite a bit of my theology redefined and challenged. Every week I find myself crying out to God to make me more Holy as He is Holy as I apply the Word to my heart. That, if you have never tried it, is not comfortable.

Consequently, we have all grown in our faith and we have the most wonderful friends of all ages. One of my best friends is 15, a beautiful and fully competant young lady who is the second of 11 children. One of her younger brothers I affectionately call my "little buddy." I have intimate fellowship with both adult single ladies of the church and older Saints in the Lord. Our church is filled with families, fathers and mothers, not just women attendees- a common plight in this manless culture. All over the building you can see every age fellowshipping with any and every other age and group, a teenager talking to a 5 year old, a twenty some thing young lady talking to an older man.

We also have a shared meal at the end of each service. What sweetness of fellowship. It is a whole day of truth in the Word, fellowship with sweet unspoiled home educated friends, and home cooked nourishing food. And all of this is not in a small isolated country town in the center of nowhere but in the heart of one of the busiest and most liberal cities in the US. Seattle.

Chance? No,... Providence, I say.

Seek and ye shall find. Knock and the door will be opened to you.

We are so blessed! Thank you Lord, for your direction. Had I not been struggling, I may not have recognized your blessing and found a place to both challenge us and found a place of quiet rest.

For a directory of family integrated churches in your area check out this link. I highly recommend at least a visit.

Living a Lifestyle of Learning daily

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Back to school-10 homeschool principles

As we all head back to the regular routines of the fall season, back to home education is on the top of my list. Each year I read a new book or two for a fresh look, new ideas or just plain old encouragement. Kevin Swanson believes that a successful education is achieved when a child is prepared to make maximal use of his God-given talents and abilities in the accomplishment of the child's calling. With great passion, he writes a series of 10 principles for achieving the best education for our children in his new book Upgrade: 10 Secrets to the Best Education for Your Child Swanson's list of "10 Time-Tested Secrets for a
Successful Education" are:

1. The preeminence of character

2. Quality one-on-one instruction

3. The principle of protection

4. The principle of individuality

5. The routing in relationships

6. The principle of doing the basics well

7. The principle of life integration

8. Maintaining the honor and mystique of learning

9. Build on the right foundation

10. The principle of wise, sequential progression

Check out this great book for a renewed mind and as a tool to refocus on this years goals. This may be added to my all time favorite list for great Homeschool visionary books.

Living a Lifestyle of Learning daily

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sorry to be so distant....

Thank you to all of my friends and faithful readers out there who have commented on my mysterious absence over the last month. Usually I try to post daily but even every other day works well for me. However when life really gets way too fast to consider a private relationship with my computer, I may periodically, unintentionally, disappear for a time.

I regret not leaving a post letting you know of my unintentional absence but it all happened so fast. August was such a blur. I remember only sleeping in my own bed a few times for the whole month. Where did the the Summer go?

Let's see, there were strawberries to be picked. (late June) Fortunately a friend graciously brought me several already picked perfectly ripe strawberries. 60 lbs went in the freezer.

Then there were raspberries. The search for a new u-pick location was needed and took several days but once we found one we were off in a flash before the season was over. I then processed all 90 lbs in my juicer t0 remove the seeds and dried some puree for future raw jam.(future post)The rest I froze for smoothies for the cold winter months. Great.

Next on to blueberries. Circumstances took us away from our usual reliable spot and we ended up travelling quite a distance and picking on the hottest day of the year in the slowest picking spot imaginable. After a couple of hours and only about 30 lbs we quit and decided to find another location, another day.

Then there was the spontaneous camping invitation with a family that has 11 children. What an experience- what fun too! We all.... all15 of us drove up Burley Mountain and had a full circumpolar view of Mount Rainier, Mount St Helen's (the one the blew up 28 years ago), Mount Hood and Mount Adams. Then we all drove bikes downhill riding the brakes all the way, I might add. A half hour later the last rider made it to the bottom. Only a few of the tougher boys took some tumbles. Another day we all lined up and did some target practice with 22's, 27's, and a 38. Wow, that 38 packs quite a kick. Apparently my aim was impressive.

With only a day or two to clean smoky laundry, I then packed up to fly out to Whitehorse, in the Yukon Territory in Northern Canada, (up by Alaska-for the uninformed) to assist my Mother as she was recooperating from knee replacement surgery. It was quite an honor to be there and we got to spend some mother daughter time. What I expected to be doing was serving her and assisting her with exercises but it actually ended up becoming quite a vacation time as as well.

I had the priviledge of going on a historically narrated river cruise, a Broadway show and... quading. That's right, I drove a four wheeler though the woods, across dirt roads, over some frightingly narrow cliff edges to overlook the entire city of Whitehorse. It was quite a sight. I only stalled the machine once. And to relax after an exhausting day of outdoor
life, I got to do a little garage sailing.

Flying home a week later gave me only one sleep in my regular bed and then off on a labor day weekend church family camp. We ate, visited, played games, kayaked, and sat around the camp fire to our hearts content. Home for only a few days to clean more smoke smell from all our clothes and my boys took off this morning on a men's retreat and will be back on Saturday night.

Next weekend my boys and a bunch of their friends and their Dad's are going on a hiking trip off into the woods.

I guess I should be tired from all that busyness in August, but to confess to you a flaw in my character, I love being overly busy. I find it invigoratingly far too easy to have nothing but fun and not deal with creeping character issues in both me and my children. Hopefully the long days of Winter will help bring us all back into line.

Nevertheless, amongst all the flurry I still managed to read a few great books (another post) sew some drapes for the school room and master a few more raw recipes. Sigh, the summer was over before I even knew it, but we had a lot of fun. Now we all need some time to slow down, refocus and reestablish some regular routines again. Hence my next post tomorrow.... or in a day or two.

How was your summer?

Living a Lifestyle of Learning daily

Back to School difficulties.

Each year, after a busy summer, running here and there, picking berries, camping, visiting with friends and perhaps an actual travelling vacation time, we get to start up our regular routines again. Some years we have started out with great difficulty and in examining why- I have come to some conclusions. I used to start "school" with a bang, a full schedule including new chores, and a full load of assignments and workbooks and great expectations (mine).

Thankfully, I do not do that to my poor children anymore. We saw too much flesh and resistance, both theirs and mine and I now have learned to have a more graceful approach to a new start up. After any change in routine, even after a vacation or a big move the first things to be re established are the regular routines of chores and household living.
Getting beds made in the morning, if good habits have slipped, and just generally getting adapted to long lonely days at home again. As the weather cools outside, it leads us to cuddle inside with blankets and a great read aloud. As we are established in spending enjoyable time together again we will start up with some more educational disciplines such as a math program or any other disciplined table time activity. If I have decided to make any particular changes to our educational approach this is when I will transfer my vision to my children and open discussion on how and why I want some changes to be made. Whether they embrace these changes right away is not as important as the ideas that I want them to contemplate. In any case as they get older, I want to capture their hearts in their educational plan so I am not dragging them along all year long. Next I want to draw them into an educational plan that both inspires them and disciplines their minds and character to embrace their own education. Usually in a couple of weeks we are into a full blown routines that is both compatible with everyday living and with good educational plans. Every year is different and each day is often different as well but I consider it a good day if we have pursued learning with a passion and grown in relationship as well.

Have a great start up again this year and remember to consider your children are trying to refocus as you are and give them some room to come down from a busy summer.

Living a lifestyle of Learning Daily.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A few more vinegar ideas.....from readers

As I am pursuing a study in natural cleaning methods and products, I am keenly interested in the use of white vinegar (and baking soda-more to come on this) as a cleaning agent. If you have not seen my previous post, check it out here and then let me know of any other ideas that you have come across. Below are some additions taken directly from readers comments.

I use this one all the time to clean the grime left in my microwave when my
dear husband forgets to cover his food. Fill a coffee mug with 1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar. Heat in microwave until boiling and let boil for about one minute.
Remove mug and wipe your microwave clean!

If you forgot to clean your paintbrushes the last time you used them. You
can soften the old, dried paint by covering the bristles with boiling white
vinegar and let them stand for an hour.

To remove "wet glass" rings from your furniture, rub them with a mixture of equal parts of vinegar and olive oil.

To remove dirt and grime from heavily soiled hands you can scrub them with corn-meal damped with apple cider vinegar. Then rinse with cool water and dry your hands.

Great ideas, Keep em coming!

Living a Lifestyle of Learning daily

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

28 years ago today.....

I was at the end of my rope. Eight and a half months pregnant and carrying an extra 35 lbs of baby weight, I was getting heavy and felt teary and anxious to have it over. I generally very much enjoyed being pregnant especially since the news of not one but two special blessings soon to come. The fun of picking names was not double but multiple times as great a task as each first and middle name for either a girl or a boy, two boys or two girls had to match or be compatible with the other names. We didn't know what the babies were but I did know that they were fraternal making it a possibility that they could be a boy and girl. (my hope and dream) Ryan and Amy's birth (coming into my life) have been to me the single most life changing event of my life. Having lost my first baby at 18 months after open heart surgery, God had given me a special gift, not only a little girl again but he gave me a boy too! How could I have known how they would captivate my heart. My life has never been the same again.
Even though their birth ending up being an unnecessary emergency C section delivery, they did arrive safe and sound.
I am grateful for the lives of my twins (as all my children) and I enjoy watching their relationship with each other and with their two brothers blossom and mature.

I love you,

Rose and Bud,

Lily and Vine... no

Ryan Michael and Amy Joy, ah, now that works

Happy Birthday,
my twins,

my children

my Pride and Joy!
Love, Mom.

(Sorry I could not find a picture of just Ryan, (the one shown includes his lovely wife and their beautiful children) or of the twins together as adults, but I will try to locate a good baby picture and an adult one as well, and will post it as soon as I do. (Amy is also married (to Tim)and has a very cute baby boy.
Living a Lifestyle of Learning daily